Nodaway Prosecuting Attorney Robert L. Rice has made the right move by asking for a special prosecutor to review evidence in a highly emotional teen sex case.
It is now up to a judge to follow through on Rice’s request and appoint a capable prosecutor who will look at the evidence from a fair and fresh perspective.
The town of Maryville has been under seige from the international media and angry Internet users ever since The Star published a story about a family’s ordeal after their 14-year-old daughter was involved in a sexual assault.
Rice initially filed felony charges against two 17-year-old boys, but dropped them two months later. He later also dropped a misdemeanor charge against one of the boys.
Rice contends he took those actions because the victim and her mother wouldn’t cooperate. The mother disputes that. Rice’s refusal to reveal when the mother and daughter opted to remain silent in a legal deposition leaves unanswered whether he is talking about the felony charges or the lesser misdemeanor charge.
The victim and her mother have said publicly this week they will cooperate with prosecutors. We hope they do. We also hope Rice’s move will help end the threats and nastiness that have boiled up on the Internet. It is time to return the matter to the criminal justice system for proper prosecution.